IowaWORKS hosts roundtable to discuss solutions to worker shortage

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Staff from IowaWorks listened to employers and heard their concerns about Siouxland’s worker shortage.

Katie Towler is the principal of the Sioux City Career Academy. She attended the roundtable discussion and said Siouxland employers sometimes overlook an important segment of the population.

“There’s kind of untapped potential with the students in our community,” Towler said. “We think so much about the unemployed right now or under-employed that sometimes we forget about those students who will at some point in time be joining our workforce.”

Towler said the Career Academy has 76 students working as interns across 22 different local businesses.

“Everybody that’s been involved with our internship program as far as the business side so far has been really pleased with their experience and surprised by how prepared our students are for that and they continue on because it’s been such a good experience,” said Towler. 

Dane Doty is the Human Resources manager for Fleet Farm. His company relies on student apprentices and he said forming a connection between businesses and employers is crucial.

“It comes down to relationships,” Doty said. “If you can build a relationship between employers and schools and with those students, they know there’s a place for them.”

Iowa teens can start working at most businesses at 16, but some companies hire teens as young as 14.

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